Monday, March 09, 2009

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

MacRitchie Reservoir is Singapore's oldest reservoir. Completed in 1868 by impounding water from an earth embankment, and it was then known as the Impounding Reservoir or Thomson Reservoir, after its designer John Turnbull Thomson. It was renamed as MacRitchie Reservoir in 1922 after municipal engineer, James MacRitchie, who oversaw its expansion. The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, which is the biggest nature reserve in Singapore.

The reservoir has a zig-zag bridge and pavilion, which are supposedly popular spots in the 1980s for lovers to meet up.

There are several forest trails leading into the greeneries for nature lovers or joggers.

When I was there with LK today, several of the plants were flowering or fruiting. Being not much of a rainforest person, I don't know most of the IDs of the plants below.

A shrub just next to the trail with cute little round bunches of flowers.

Thottea grandiflora
The Thottea grandiflora has lots of pretty flowers hanging down like purple lampshades.

Thottea grandiflora
Here's a look at what's inside the "lampshade". The inner sides of the petals had a velvety feel, and in the middle was the stamens and stigma.

Flowers of an unknown tree.

Yet another unknown tree blooming.

A Baccaurea sp. bursting with inflorescence. There were so many flowers that the ground at the base of the tree had heaps of fallen petals.

Have no idea what climber this is. It also exhibit cauliflory too, where the flowers bloom on the main stem.

Shorea flowers
The forest surrounding MacRitchie Reservoir has a few patches of primary rainforests, and we passed through several of them this today. One of the primary forest giants, a Shorea sp. was flowering and we saw many flowers below the tree.

Cicada tree, Ploiarium alternifolium
In a stream near the reservoir, the cicada tree (Ploiarium alternifolium) was blooming with pretty pinkish flowers.

Several plants were fruiting too. This tree had a rather interesting-looking twisted fruit.

But strangely, we found this growing out of the same tree? So which is the real fruit of the tree?

Fruits of Tampines tree (Streblus elongatus)
Fruit of the tampines tree (Streblus elongatus).

Fruits of an unknown tree. (Update: This is probably the False Olive, Champereia manillana. Thanks Von Bing for the info.)

Slender pitcher plants (Nepenthes gracilis)
In some of the grass patches, there were lots of slender pitcher plants (Nepenthes gracilis).

Centipede fern (Blechnum orientale)
There were lots of non-flowering plants too, such as the centipede fern (Blechnum orientale), so named because the young fronds looked like centipedes.

Another fern which I couldn't remember its name.

Spikemoss (Selaginella sp.)
Spikemoss (Selaginella sp.) are plants with simple, scale-like leaves on branching stems. Like ferns, they reproduce through spores, but their leaves possess a single vascular vein instead of the more complex megaphylls found in ferns and seed plants.

Related to spikemoss (from the same Division Lycopodiophyta) are the clubmoss (Family Lycopodiaceae).

Probably due to the high rainfall these few days, there were lots of mushrooms too.

Blue mushrooms
Some come in pretty colours, such as these in blue.

Heart-gaster ants (Crematogaster sp.) on ant plant (Macaranga bancana)
Some heart-gaster ants (Crematogaster sp.) were spotted on an ant plant (Macaranga bancana). The ants live in the hollow stem and feed on the fat-rich globules found within the dark red stipules, and protect the plant from herbivores.

Giant forest ant (Camponotus gigas)
A few giant forest ants (Camponotus gigas) were foraging over the fallen leaves on the forest floor.

Praying mantis
I initially thought this is a juvenile praying mantis, but it had well-developed wings and flew off after I had a few shots of it. So guess it's probably an adult instead.

Branded imperial butterfly (Eooxylides tharis distanti)
It was nice to see a branded imperial butterfly (Eooxylides tharis distanti) for a change. I have been seeing mostly the common posy, which looks somewhat similar, these days.

Whitespots (Aplocheilus panchax)
In one of the streams, we found quite a few whitespots (Aplocheilus panchax). This native fish is very hardy, and has been found in hotsprings in Sembawang and Pulau Tekong!

We also saw several rasbora which I couldn't tell the exact species and unfortunately the photos didn't turn out well. I had spotted several terrapins here the last time I was here which I couldn't identify too (definitely not the invasive red-eared slider or the native Malayan box terrapin), but unfortunately I didn't see them again today.

Slender squirrel (Sundasciurus tenuis)
There were lots of slender squirrels (Sundasciurus tenuis), but as it was very dark in the forest today, I only managed to get this fuzzy shot.

There were certainly lots of interesting things to see in our forest, if we take time to walk slowly and observe carefully.

I'm still hoping to spot a pangolin or mouse deer one of these days :)

1 comment:

Geotacs said...

very nice shots you have there...

i didn't have mych time to explore the trails inside...

maybe one day i will...

thanks for sharing